Public Sector: NHS London gears up for controversial revamp..

NHS London has recruited Transport for London's director of group comms for transport to impart plans to restructure London's healthcare.

Stephen Webb will move into the top comms role at NHS London in early April, as the Government's radical plans to restructure London's hospitals take shape.

The plans, masterminded by health minister Lord Darzi, propose a massive shift from hospitals to 'polyclinics' and urgent care centres that would cater for most people's medical needs closer to home.

In his new role, Webb will oversee a team of eight, working on government and stakeholder relations and internal comms. He will report to NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnell.

Webb said: 'Coming from Transport for London (TfL), working with controversial issues will not exactly be new. One part of it is working on the board, making sure the comms side is built into everything right from the beginning.'

Darzi's report is currently with the primary care trusts (PCTs) for consultation. It will be returned to NHS London in early April for analysis, at the same time as Webb starts his new job.

Current NHS London acting director of comms Steve Gladwin outlined Webb's role from that point onwards: 'He will see what elements of the report are to be taken forward with the PCTs. He will work with the PCTs to make sure we are meeting local needs.'

Webb will also be liaising with strategic stakeholders such as the mayor of London, the Greater London Authority, councils, the Government Office for London and the Department of Health, to make sure the plan works for everyone.

A final element to his role will be working with the organisers of the 2012 Olympic Games, to ensure that health remains high on the agenda for its communications strategy.

Webb replaces interim comms director Bill Gillespie, who left NHS London in December to be chief executive of Sutton and Merton PCT.

Webb has been at TfL since 2001, before which he worked in the press offices of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Transport.

At a Glance, p10.

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